Who is Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

"Children!" says Kelly, 6. Kelly, do you mean you'll finally get even for all those times when adults got to do more than you did?

No, says Daniel, 11. "Whosoever humbles himself like a little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Daniel Matthew 18:1-5, who also said we must enter his kingdom as a child.

Entering like a little child? Does this mean I should act childish? Maybe I should buy a train set like the one I had when I was a kid? Reminds me of that bumper sticker: "Whoever dies with the most toys wins."

I'm on the wrong track, friends. Help me out.

"A servant will be greatest in heaven, next to God," says Philip, 12.

Philip, this sounds remarkably similar to what Jesus said: "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

In other words, the way up in the kingdom looks like the way down in this world. Jesus illustrated this at his last meal before his crucifixion when he washed the feet of his disciples. Peter was so shocked at the notion of Jesus washing his feet that initially he refused to allow it. In the culture of Jesus' time, foot washing was reserved for the lowest servant.

OK, to be a kingdom VIP I have to serve others. But what does serving have to do with being childlike?

In reading and talking with hundreds of children, this journalist has discovered that most small children are simple and trusting. Their faith reminds me of a video I once saw.

New Tribes Missions, producers of the video, takes the news of Jesus Christ to people all over the world who live in remote places. Often the work takes years because of the difficulty in learning the customs and expressions of tribal languages.

The video captured the childlike faith and trust of about 150 tribal people when they first heard in their own language that Jesus had come into the world to die for their sins and to break the bonds of death by his resurrection.

One tribal man stood up and shouted in his language, "It is true!" A woman followed. "It is true!"

Next, the entire tribe began to shout, "It is true!" as they hugged each other and jumped up and down in unison. Then, they picked up the missionary and carried him around as if he had run for the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. They did everything except dump the water cooler on his head. This spontaneous celebration lasted several hours.

These normally reserved tribal people acted like children.  They were overtaken by the joy of entering the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus described this childlike receptivity as taking the kingdom of heaven "by force" (Matthew 11:12).

The force of childlike faith in Jesus is all it takes to move from spiritual death to everlasting life. Everyone comes into this world physically alive but spiritually dead. God imparts spiritual life the moment anyone places his or her faith in Christ alone with simple, childlike faith. 

The same childlike faith by which one enters God’s kingdom is the same faith needed to live a God-inspired life.

Think about this: The greatest in God’s kingdom will attend the biggest party of all time--the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Memorize this truth: “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

Ask this question: "Where will you sit at the wedding feast of the lamb?"

Listen to a talking book, download the "Kids Color Me Bible" for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and the Mission Explorers Documentary at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CAREY KINSOLVING

Publication date: June 18, 2012